It’s WWE Superstar Shake-Up week, so there are no announced matches on the preview, just a string of vague reminders of what’s been going on. Becky Lynch will address the situation with Lacey Evans. Bobby Lashley will be throwing his weight around. Seth Rollins wants a new opponent. And Roman Reigns is looking for his next challenge.
I’m Amanda and this is the RAW review
The Revival and The Viking Experience def. Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder and Ricochet & Aleister Black
Andrade def. Finn Balor
The Usos def Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
Bayley & Naomi def. The IIconics
Becky Lynch def. Ruby Riott
Lacey Evans def. Natalya
Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns & AJ Styles def. Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley
» Stephanie McMahon opened the show and brought out Shane McMahon. After he did his intro schtick and they played with the crowd a bit, they got to the point. They talked about the Shake-Up being the start of the long journey to next year’s WrestleMania, and the possibility of moving Champions and splitting tag teams. Every part of the roster is subject to change.
Stephanie was about to announce the first Shake-up superstar when he announced himself. The Miz’ music hit and Stephanie got out of the ring as Shane readied himself. Miz attacked him from behind as he watched the ramp.
They brawled it out at ringside and Shane tipped Miz over the barricade. Miz emerged bleeding from the head and holding a chair. He beat Shane McMahon into the ring and chased him back out. Miz stood tall as Shane McMahon backed up the ramp. That’s quite an entrance.
» Ricochet was the next announced Shake-up superstar. He is officially on the RAW roster alongside Aleister Black.
War Raiders have arrived on RAW and they’ve had a name change. They are Ivar (Hanson) and Erik (Rowe), The Viking Experience, which is a terrible name. They’re still NXT Tag Team Champions as War Raiders, so they’re in for a confusing few weeks.
The Revival and The Viking Experience vs Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder and Ricochet & Aleister Black was the first match of the night, accompanied by much speculation about whether the various competitors’ appearance meant they are staying on RAW. In addition to the name change, it would appear that Ivar and Erik are not the nice-guys that Rowe and Hanson were. Absolutely great match, with a heavy emphasis on the newcomers. It was a Viking Experience double team that finished the match and Zack Ryder who took the pin.
» Cedric Alexander is now a RAW superstar.
» Finn Balor vs Andrade, in a non-title match, was how they chose to debut Andrade and Vega. Zelina Vega gave herself and her client an introduction and talked their way to the ring. Balor stood there while Andrade spoke to him in Spanish for a while before they finally got into it. Andrade started hard, but he was taking a lot of punishment when Zelina Vega got in the way of a Balor kick on the apron. He stopped short, she moved, and Andrade dumped Balor face-first onto the apron. A longer program between these two would be great for RAW if Balor isn’t moved because this was so much fun to watch. Both failed to complete their finishers. Balor was working hurt. Vega tried to block Balor’s dive over the top, but he went for it anyway and made her duck. She paid him back with a head scissors takedown. Andrade dragged Balor into the ring and delivered the hammerlock DDT for the win.
» Elias said his music is so powerful it brought The Doctor of Thugaomics, John Cena, back to ruin his WrestleMania performance, and brought The Dead Man back from the grave. He thinks it’s because they know WWE stands for Walk With Elias. He had a special song, but the Montreal crowd weren’t keen on letting him sing it. As it was, he didn’t get a chance anyway. Rey Mysterio arrived as the newest Shake-up superstar, and they had a little fight.
After Mysterio had seen off Elias, Lars Sullivan made his way to the ring and Rey Mysterio tried to see him off as well. He kept him at bay for a time, but as soon as Sullivan got a proper hold of him he took a Freak Accident and a sit-out powerbomb.
» Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs The Usos was used as The Usos RAW debut match. That really makes me hope they’ll be moving Reigns to SmackDown Live. Roode and Gable got the advantage via nefarious means, a distraction from Bobby Roode for Gable to take advantage, then an attack from Roode on the outside. Obviously, The Usos got the pin, with a double splash on Chad Gable.
» Alexa Bliss hosted ‘A Moment of Bliss’, with special guest Sami Zayn. Before she brought him out, she commented that it might be her last night on RAW and that her guest would be able to help her give the crowd a proper goodbye in French if that was the case. Zayn came out and danced around to his theme tune while the crowd sang along, then did it again, then a third time. He kept pointing out how easy it was to play the crowd, and they kept helping it prove it.
When they finally sat down to talk, Bliss said it was fantastic to see him back on RAW. He said he’s been in the city all week and it’s been fantastic to spend time there with his friends and family. He loves the city. He just can’t stand the people. RAW is the low-point of his week because he’s there with all the people and he doesn’t really want to be there. Nine months ago he would have been looking forward to getting this kind of response, but now the cheers make him feel sick. The crowd turned on him and he said that makes him sicker because they’re projecting their own issues onto him. They should be ashamed of themselves. You can’t call them fans, they’re too busy being critics and kingmakers.
Bliss asked him if he’s trying to say they’re the problem because he’s so perfect. They’re his people. He said they’re not his people, he lives in Florida now. He chose to leave Montreal then and he’s choosing to leave now. Then he did.
» In a backstage segment, Bayley was having trouble getting hold of Sasha Banks on the phone. The IIconics approached and said Sasha isn’t there and it doesn’t look like The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection will be getting their titles back any time soon, so if Bayley wanted someone to talk to… Bayley told them not to talk about Banks and that she’d find a partner and meet them in the ring.
Bayley & Naomi vs The IIconics made Naomi the next Shake-up superstar. Not a big surprise considering her husband arrived earlier. Good match but very short. Naomi and Bayley won when Bayley took Peyton Royce out with a Bayley to Belly and Naomi pinned Billie Kay of a split-legged moonsault. Interesting way to treat brand new champions.
» The weird creepy alien vulture head in a box made another appearance. Still no idea what it is, or why it is. There was also a creepy dollhouse, rocking horse, toys, combo sequence culminating in a super-creepy laughing ventriloquist doll in a rocking chair. It’s probably Bray Wyatt’s return, but we can hope for something different and exciting instead – I’ll be very happy to see Wyatt back, but he needs a better attitude repackage than some scary dolls.
» EC3 asked for competition. He got Braun Strowman. He didn’t get a match though, he just got beaten up and thrown around a lot. Strowman damaged a backboard with EC3’s body, then choke-slammed him through the stage.
» Becky Lynch passed Strowman on her way to the ring. She smiled at him, pulled an ‘oh dear’ face at EC3 then carried on. Becky Lynch vs Ruby Riott was Lynch setting the stall for her championship reign. Or, at least, it was until Liv Morgan caused a distraction and created an opening for Riott. Ruby Riott is a top-level opponent and she came close to pinning the champ a few times. Becky Lynch got her in the Dis-Arm-Her but Logan and Morgan pulled her free. Becky Lynch launched herself onto Logan and Morgan then tapped out Riott. She had to clear the Riott Squad from the ring again afterwards and she did it with a smile.
» Natalya came out to the ring while Lynch was celebrating. She congratulated Lynch on her victories on RAW and at WrestleMania, then talked about how she’d dreamed of main eventing WrestleMania, and Lynch did it. Lynch was the first to pin Ronda Rousey, the first to win both titles on the same night. But Natalya is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. And she’s coming after the RAW Women’s Championship.
Lynch said she’s spent years in the trenches with a lot of overlooked and underappreciated women, just like she was like Natalya is. She knew the women would hunt her down. That’s the nature of the business. To take over the world you have to take down the person on top. They’ve travelled the world together as teenagers looking to fight anyone anywhere to get their foot in the door and look at them now. Natalya helped build the revolution from the ground up so it would be a pleasure…
That was as far as she got before Lacey Evans arrived on stage. Evans told Natalya that she admires her determination, but the RAW Women’s Championship couldn’t possibly be around the waist of a classless has-been like her. Lynch and Natalya need to stop discussing possible title matches because a lady knows how to curry favour to get what she wants. And now Lacey Evans is an official RAW superstar, she wants the RAW Women’s Championship.
To prove it, The McMahon family had sanctioned a match – Lacey Evans vs Natalya to become Becky Lynch’s first RAW title challenger. It didn’t start well for Evans but she turned it around during the ads and Natalya was in trouble. She pulled it back and got Evans in a Sharpshooter but Lacey Evans is strong and pulled herself to the ropes, despite Natalya dragging her back to the centre once. Evans scrabbled out of the ring then knocked Natalya out with a Woman’s Right when they got back in. She followed up with a totally unnecessary moonsault for the pin.
» All night the evening main event had been plugged. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and a mystery transfer from SmackDown Live versus Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley. Corbin, McIntyre, and Lashley, with Lio Rush, were interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso to speculate about Rollins and Reigns mystery partner. They didn’t care, they just want to get their hands on Rollins and Reigns.
Rollins and Reigns weren’t giving up the name of their third partner. They haven’t forgotten what Lashley did to Dean Ambrose, and it could be one or both of their last nights on RAW. They’re tearing Montreal down.
Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, & Bobby Lashley with Lio Rush vs Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, & AJ Styles got the last fifteen minutes of the show. Styles to RAW is great news. He needs new competition and Rollins versus Styles is a storied program we need to see, partly for the history, partly because it would be awesome. Roman Reigns was isolated from his teammates fairly early in the match and took a ton of punishment before he tagged Rollins in.
Rollins was on fire and taking on everyone until Corbin intercepted his suicide dive with a punch and took over. But he was unable to pin Rollins and tagged in Lashley at the same time Rollins brought in AJ Styles.
Styles dealt with Lashley and with Corbin’s interference but took a Claymore and things started to break down. Reigns tried to Superman punch McIntyre but got thrown over his head and rolled out of the ring. McIntyre took a superkick from Rollins at ringside, then got Superman punched over the barricade. Reigns caught Corbin with a drive-by before Rollins smashed him into the barricade with a suicide dive.
Meanwhile, AJ Styles got caught by Lashley when going for the Phenomenal Forearm and slammed into the canvas. Rollins stomped Lashley while he was covering Styles. Roman Reigns gave Lashley a spear then Style delivered the Phenomenal Forearm for the win.
Fun match but I don’t care what anyone says, Rollins and Reigns teaming with anyone other than Ambrose is just not right.
So that’s the first half of the Shake-up completed. If I’m honest, they were so unclear about which superstars had arrived on RAW to stay and which were just on the show, that I looked up the full list on wwe.com after the show. It’s too early to draw any conclusions about the shape of the roster going forward, we have to wait for tomorrow’s SmackDown Live for that.
Confirmed RAW Superstars
- The Miz
- Ricochet & Aleister Black
- The Viking Experience – Ivar & Erik (Formerly War Raiders)
- Cedric Alexander
- Andrade and Zelina Vega
- Rey Mysterio
- Lars Sullivan
- The Usos
- Eric Young – without the rest of SAnitY.
- Lacey Evans
- AJ Styles